Rapid advancements in gaming technology and increased internet penetration have made online casino games a popular entertainment product worldwide. India is at the centre of the growing rise in online casino games. It is estimated that around 80% of India's 1.38 billion people engage in online gambling. This translates to 15% of online casino players globally.
Contrary to the numbers, gambling is still a sticky issue in India's society. A big part of the population agrees with gambling as a leisure activity, while others consider it taboo. The limited presence of brick-and-mortar casinos can confirm the resistance to gambling. On the other hand, online gambling is popular. You can easily play Bombay Live Bollywood Stars on 10CRIC or any one of a number of alternative casino games on your phone or computer.
As the gambling sector in India anticipates steady growth in this decade, what can we expect.
Smart Phones and The Internet
It's estimated that 750 million Indians use smartphones today. This number is projected to grow to more than 1 billion users as internet penetration grows in rural areas. Most smartphone users can access reliable internet, which makes online gaming easier.
Easy access to the internet has boosted recreational online gambling. Many players can play at a casino or sportsbook from their smartphones. To enhance this, many online casinos have user-friendly apps or mobile sites. Gamblers don't have to be tied down to their desktops or laptops to catch the thrill at a casino.
With smartphone availability and internet penetration expected to grow in this decade, online casino games will continue to catch on to the population in India.
Experts also expect the planned rollout of 5G mobile networks in 2022 will help the online gaming industry leap forward. Many players are unhappy with the occasional lags and buffering in 3G and 4G and look forward to 5G rollout to address these concerns. Developers in the gaming sector also expect that this technology will help to enhance cloud gaming in the future.
Evolution of Online Casinos
Besides the excitement of competing against others or landing winning combinations, many players are impressed by the casino environment. Punters are attracted to online casinos with familiar and relatable themes. Also, most gamblers will choose an online casino that is user friendly and play games they already know.
To capture the attention of payers, many online casinos in India are adding variants of popular games such as Teen Patti and Indian flush to their collection. Other popular games across India that online casinos are adding to their lineup include Andar Bahar, Indian Rummy and Texas Hold 'em. Game developers have also come up with Maharaja themed lost machines such as Maharaja Riches Slot and other themes related to Indian society.
In addition, online casinos are developing user-friendly interfaces, so they are accessible even to players who are not tech-savvy. These efforts contribute to India's rapid expansion of the online gambling industry.
Cricket is Batting Up the Industry
Cricket is the most followed sport in India. More than half the population follows live cricket matches in the stadium or watches them on TV. This sizable support base creates a vast betting market. Fans enjoy winning when they make correct predictions on local and international games.
India has very strong domestic leagues that bookmakers can rely on. There're games being played in local leagues at all times, and gamblers can cash in on them. The most popular leagues are the Ranji Trophy, the Duleep Trophy, and the NKP Salve Challenger Trophy.
Crickets are also an easy game to follow and understand. The rules of play are straightforward, so anyone can easily learn to play or bet on the sport. The most common bets placed on cricket are match betting, innings runs, bowler match betting, batsman match betting, and over/underscore.
Online casinos with a sportsbook section in India rake in a lot from cricket betting more than any sport. As cricket grows, so will its online gambling thrive.
A Youthful Population Speeds Up Growth
The youthful population of India is propping up the online gambling industry. The second most populous nation on earth has a majority of young people. Statistics show that 75% of India's population is below 45 years. Many players are aged between 25 – 45 years old and consider online casino games as an alternative entertainment product.
Also, young people are more adept at using smartphones and computers to play online. It's also easier for young people to learn how to navigate online casinos. Even as beginners, the youth are more adaptable to change and keep up with emerging trends. Bookmakers and game developers have to view this as a crucial aspect to remain in the industry. Developing casino games and gambling products that can entertain this demographic is key to the future of online casinos.
Will the Law Keep Up?
Currently, many forms of online gambling are illegal in India. According to the Public Gaming Act of 1867, betting to make profits is prohibited. There are some exceptions, however, that allow wagering on horse races. Furthermore, the laws classify games of skill and chance, which permits some online casino games.
This 1867 law allows players to bet on games that require skill to win and prohibits them from playing games that require luck. The law doesn't clearly distinguish between games of skill and games of chance, leaving a loophole that bookmakers exploit. The lack of clear laws has contributed to a widely dysfunctional industry, especially at state levels.
Online gambling is hardly regulated in many states, and some operators are not held accountable. This way, players have been defrauded by unscrupulous bookies with legal recourse. Because of this, many players opt to play on offshore casinos and sportsbooks.
For online gaming to take root in India, states must do better. A key way to streamline this industry will require passing friendly legislation. Efforts at a national level to regulate the online gambling industry will also help.